England boss Roy Hodgson has been awarded an honorary degree by the University of York to mark his 40-year contribution to football management. The 68-year-old was given the honour by the Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost Professor Saul Tendler at a graduation ceremony at the university. Hodgson told the audience of graduands and their families: “If there’s one thing I would say to you, and it’s something we try to preach to our football players, have no fear. You have got to believe in yourself. “Be prepared to take chances because the worst that could happen is you might have to accept that it didn’t work out, this challenge you took, and you have to go back to the drawing board and wait for the next chance to come along.”
UEFA will not hold a presidential election until Michel Platini’s appeal against his eight-year ban from all football activity is complete. The UEFA president, 60, was suspended by FIFA’s ethics committee in December along with its president Sepp Blatter. They were found guilty of breaches surrounding a “disloyal payment” made to Platini, but the Frenchman has appealed to FIFA’s appeals committee. Platini has withdrawn from February’s FIFA presidential election. A statement from European governing body UEFA said: “The UEFA executive committee decided there will be no UEFA presidential election scheduled until the sports justice appeal bodies, including potentially the Court of Arbitration for Sport, have taken a decision regarding Michel Platini’s suspension. “We hope his name is cleared and that he can return to the European football family as quickly as possible.”
FIFA presidential candidate Gianni Infantino has received the “overwhelming” backing of Europe’s football associations. A UEFA statement said: “UEFA’s national associations overwhelmingly expressed their support for Gianni and will officially announce their individual positions in due course.” Infantino, the UEFA secretary general is one of five candidates standing in the election on 26 February. The winner will replace outgoing president Sepp Blatter who has been in charge since 1998 but was banned for football for eight years in December.
Ghana international Daniel Amartey has completed his move to Leicester City from FC Copenhagen. The 21 year-old has joined the club on a contract until 2020. Amartey has won six caps for his country and can play as a defensive midfielder, central defender or right-back. It’s Leicester’s second signing of the transfer window after Demarai Gray joined from Birmingham earlier this month.
Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has signed a new one-year contract at Stamford Bridge. The Serbia international, 32, joined Chelsea from Lokomotiv Moscow in January 2008 and has made 341 appearances, scoring 32 goals. He has won the Champions League and two Premier League titles with Chelsea, plus three FA Cups and one League Cup. Ivanovic also headed the winning goal for Chelsea in the 2013 Europa League final against Benfica in Amsterdam. “This is my home and there is no other place I would rather play,” said Ivanovic, who was made vice-captain at the start of this season.
It has been quite a season in the premier league. This season is really full of surprises. Teams like Leicester and Watford have performed beyond expectations while teams like Chelsea and Newcastle have underperformed. During the season some managers have fallen by the side talking about the likes of Jose Mourinho, Brendan Rodgers and Gary Monk (sacked by Chelsea, Liverpool and Swansea respectively). These managers have been replaced by Guus Hiddink, Jurgen Klopp and Francesco Guidolin. We are yet to see the real “new manager bounce” as these teams are yet to take off as expected save for Liverpool who appeared to have gotten the initial push but the tempo has now slowed down at Anfield.
The home based Super Eagles of Nigeria were forced to 1-1 draw by the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in today’s Group C cracker at the ongoing African Nations Championship. Ahmed Akaichi’s 69th minute goal was enough to give the Tunisians a point after Chisom Chikatara’s opener in the 53rd minute. The result puts the Super Eagles on the brink of qualification, while Tunisia need to win their last game against Niger to seal a place in the last eight. Chikatara who started the game tod
The full financial details of Gareth Bale’s move to Real Madrid from Tottenham have been leaked with the player appearing to have cost the Spanish club more than Cristiano Ronaldo. According to the leaked transfer agreement, the fee for Wales international Bale was €91million (£78million) – less than the €96 million Real paid for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009 – but because the fee was to be paid in installments the final sum rises to a world record €100.7 million (£85.1million). The document also shows that it was agreed Real Madrid would announce the fee as £78million and that Tottenham would not refer to the “economic aspects” of the transfer deal. Real Madrid have always been at pains to say that Ronaldo is the most expensive player at the club. The document also specifies that Madrid undertook to ensure that Bale would not make “any negative or derogatory comments regarding Tottenham, the club’s chairman, its board and/or any of its employees.” It is understood that Bale’s agent is relaxed about the transfer agreement being in public domain as it contains no details about salary or other personal information. The 26-year-old signed a six-year contract when he moved to the Bernabeu in 2013.
Roger Federer swept past Grigor Dimitrov to bring up 300 Grand Slam match wins and safely reach the fourth round at the Australian Open on Friday. The 17-time major winner and third seed won 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-4 in two hours and 40 minutes under the closed roof on Rod Laver Arena, and will face Belgium’s 15th seed David Goffin in the next round. Federer becomes the first man to win 300 Grand Slam matches. Martina Navratilova, with 306, is the only player to have won more at majors.
Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri has been banned for two Italian Cup matches for “highly offensive” comments made to Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini. Ex-Manchester City manager Mancini, 51, claims Sarri used homophobic language towards him during a touchline row when their teams met in the Coppa Italia. However, the suspension was not for homophobia, for which the punishment could have been greater. Sarri, 57, has also been fined 20,000 euros. Napoli were beaten 2-0 in Tuesday’s quarter-final so Sarri’s ban will not be served until next season. Mancini was also fined 5,000 euros after he was sent-off during the match. Mancini said Sarri shouted “poof” and another homophobic slur in an altercation following Inter’s second goal. Sarri claimed not to remember his exact words, but acknowledged he had been “fired up and angry”. He added: “I was not discriminating against anyone. If I did indeed use those words, then I apologise to the gay community.”
Striker Mauro Zarate has moved from West Ham to Italian club Fiorentina. The 28-year-old joined the Hammers from Velez Sarsfield in summer 2014 struggled for first-team football last season before going on loan to QPR. Argentine Zarate scored five goals in 21 appearances this season for the Upton Park club. “West Ham would like to thank Mauro for his efforts in claret and blue and wish him all the best in his future career,” said a Hammers statement.
Manchester United deny they met Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola to discuss the possibility of him replacing current boss Louis van Gaal. France Football says the meeting took place last week in Paris, but United insist the story is not true. Guardiola, 45, will leave Bayern Munich this summer and said he has several offers from English clubs. Manchester City are favourites to recruit the Spaniard, but Chelsea and United have also been linked with him. Van Gaal’s future at Old Trafford has been a source of almost constant speculation in recent weeks. The Dutchman has come under pressure from fans and former United players for the club’s indifferent form and playing style.